Last night I attended The Grand Paradise, a new immersive theater performance by Third Rail Projects in New York City.

Summary: Great set design. Attractive performers. Very immersive. Slightly awkward. Recommended.

TGPCover

Positives

  • Attractive cast. Pretty much everyone was hot.
  • Nudity.
  • I was constantly impressed by the set design. It makes Sleep No More feel like a dump. The space made me happy.
  • Mermaids.
  • Choreography. My favorite was a piece in the beginning of the performance in the disco room with the male dancers. Their synchronized clapping felt strong and the men especially were extremely confident in their roles.
  • Aggressive dancing actually made me nervous that the performers were going to be injured. They’re not afraid to take risks and push themselves physically. I liked it, in the way that people watch NASCAR hoping for a crash. (I hope nobody gets hurt!)
  • My friends and I voted Julie Seal (aka “Tube Top Girl”) as our favorite from the cast based on her demeanor and style. The 1:1 experience in her bedroom was most memorable.
  • Smooth as ice with crowd interactions. The cast deftly moved audience members around the space, including spontaneous adjustments to accommodate other performer routes. It happened to me once: I was sitting on a bench in the disco room, and quickly I was drawn up and over to another corner of the room before a scene took place exactly where I had been sitting. It felt perfectly executed.

GrandParadise1

Room for Improvement

  • There was a big bottleneck at the coat check in, and I waited in line for 10-20 minutes. This is the only area of the experience all night that I thought could easily be improved. (The coat check out went quickly.)
  • Slightly too long. I could have done with 10-20 minutes less public performance and random dancing. Perhaps exciting things were happening in other rooms, but I did feel bored a few times.

I quickly counted 16 performers and 45 people in the audience at the Wednesday, 3 Feb 2016 7pm show. Plus 5-10 support staff. (Numbers as an estimate.)

Summary: Very well done. I have so much respect for all the rehearsals and craftsmanship that went into this. Since Queen of the Night is now closed, this will be my go-to recommendation for immersive theater in NYC. Kudos for the location, which is easy to find right off the L train at the Jefferson stop in Bushwick. Recommended.

Related Links

Sara Krulwich for The New York Times

Sara Krulwich for The New York Times

Sara Krulwich for The New York Times

Sara Krulwich for The New York Times

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 7.56.10 AM

BONUS: If you like new immersive theater stuff in NYC, subscribe to my friend Adam’s “Live Like Gold” newsletter. Visit his homepage and click the “Join The List” link (or try this: direct signup link).

BROCHURE IMAGERY + CAST LISTING

Front side of tri-fold brochure for The Grand Paradise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Front side of tri-fold brochure for The Grand Paradise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Cast list

Inside of tri-fold brochure for The Grand Paradise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Cast List and Credits

The Grand Paradise
By Third Rail Projects

Artistic Directors
Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett

Directed, Designed, Written and Choreographed by
Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willet in collaboration with The Company

Based on a Concept by Tom Pearson

Produced in Association with
Bill Caleo and Zach Stern

Created in Collaboration with
Erik Abbott-Main, Eliabeth Carena, Alberto Denis, Ashley Handel, Roxanne Kidd, Jeff Lyon, Rebekah Morin, Lauren Muraski, Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Tara O’Con, Wil Petre, Joshua Reaver, Katrina Reid, Edward Rice, Ashley Robicheaux, Sebastiani Romagnolo, Jessy Smith, Tori Sparks, Niko Tsocanos, Carlton Cyrus Ward

Company (All Cast)
Erik Abbott-Main, Matthew Albert, Erika Boudreau-Barber, Iman Barns, Carly Berrett-Plagianakos, Elizabeth Carena, Elisa Davis, Alberto Denis, Kate Douglas, Brendan Duggan, Lea Fulton, Ashley Handel, Emma Hoette, Roxanne Kidd, Kate Landenheim, Justin Lynch, Jeff Lyon, Zach Martens, Zach McNally, Rebekah Morin, Lauren Muraski, Parker Murphy, Mayte Natalio, Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Tara O’Con, Lily Ockwell, Tom Pearson, will Petre, Joshua Reaver, Katrina Reid, Edward Rice, Ashley Robicheaux, Sebastiani Romagnolo, Julie Seal, Jessy Smith, Tori Sparks, Bryan Strimple, Jeff Sykes, Simon Thomas-Train, Niko Tsocanos, Robert Vail, Carlton Cryus Ward

Resort Staff
Nick Auer, Michael Bell, TJ Burleson, Cameron Michael Burns, Erin Cohen, Dana Gal, Joshua Gonzales, Kelly Gregg, Emma McDonnell, Alannah O’Hagan, Eh-den Perlove, Samara Seligshn, Shanyn Strüb, Kristin Vnook

*Case for This evening’s performance is posted at the exit door.
For all company member bios and photos, visit: thegrandparadise.com/company

Production Staff

Production Design: Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett
Original Music & Sound Design: Sean Hargerty
Costume Design: Karen Young
Scenic Design: Elizabeth Svenningsen
Lighting Coordinator: The Dangerous Lady

Assistant Directors: Marissa Nielson-Pincus, Edward Rice
State Manager: Kristina Vnook
Project Manager: Andrea Dohar-Corbett
Technical Director & Construction Lead: Carlton Cyrus Ward
Assistant Technical Director: Jordan Schulze
Third Rail Projects Production Manager: Brittany Crowell
Rehearsal Directors: Jessy Smith, Niko Tsocanos

Assistant State Managers: Nick Auer, TJ Burleson, Dana Gal, Emma McDonnell, Alannah O’Hagan, Shanyn Strüb
Assistant State Manager Swing: Smara Selignhn
Production Assistants: Cameron Michael Burns, Erin Cohen, Kelly Gregg, Eh-den Perlove

Associate Sound Design: Isaiah Singer
Scenic Charge: Elizabeth Svenningsen
Scenic Artists: Julia Bilbao, TJ Burleson, Emma McDonnell, Larissa Skye, Van Rensselaer
Scenic Interns: James Barber, Greer Duckworth, Kalyani Priydarsan, Brendan Sullivan
Illustrations and Graphic Art: Emma Donnell
Props Coordinator: Kristina Vnook
Wardrobe Assistant: Aubrey Ketchell
Stitchers: Anna Alisa Belous, Jin Ha Fan
Build Crew: ?, Emma Hoette, Rebekah Morin, Parker M, Alannah O’Hagan, Lilly Ockwell, Sebastiani Romangnolo, Tristan Sylvester, Simon Thomas-Train
Light Crew: Where Huertas, Jeromy Hunt, Melissa Mizell
Sound Crew: Olivia Gemelli
Box Office Manager: Michael Bell
Box Office Associate: Joshua Gonzales

Musicians:
Sean Hagerty: electric mandolin, violin banjo
Isaiah Singer: bass, electric piano, electric acoustic, and steel guitars, harmonica
Ben Magnuson: Rhodes, piano, organ
Mike Lunoe: drums, percussion

“Echo (Drink till You Drown)”
Lyrics by Tom Pearson
Music by Sean Hagerty and Elizabeth Carena

“Hourglass (If We Could Find…)”
Lyrics by Tom Pearson
Music by Sean Hagerty and Elizabeth Carena

In Flight Video
Producer and Director: Tori Sparks
Performers: Michael Bell, Einy Am Sparks
Video Editor: Einy Am Sparks
Director of Photography: Julio Florio
Technical Supervisor: Tyler Sparks

About Third Rail Projects
Hailed as one of the foremost companies creating site-specific, immersive and experiential dance-theater in the United States, Third Rail Projects, led by artistic Directors Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willett, is dedicated to re-envision ways in which audiences can engage with contemporary performance. They have made work in New York, nationally, and abroad for over 15 years. Their long-running, award-winning work, Then She Fell, was named as one of the “Top Ten Shows of the 2012” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times, and acclaimed as one of the best theater experiences of 2013 by Vogue. The show has also garnered accolades from Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, and countless others. Third Rail Projects has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards for Then She Fell (2013) and Vanishing Point (2008). Fundamental to Third Rail Projects’ work is the notion of re-imagining contexts for presenting contemporary work, as exemplified by a history of creating projects sought after by both avid dance and theater goers as well as underserved populations and those seeking unique experiences. Collaboration is integral to all of Third Rail Projects’ work, both in the creative process as well as collaborations with each new site, community, and cultural landscape in which they work. This manifests in numerous points of inquiry and programmatic objectives that foster artistic exchange and shared practice across unique communities.

Third Rail Projects Staff
Artistic Directors: Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, Jennine Willett
Associate Artistic Director: Marissa Nielsen-Pincus
Managing Director: Elizabeth Carena
Production Manager: Brittany Crowell
Business Manager: Edward Rice
Development Associate: Niko Tsocanos
Marketing Associate: Joshua Reaver
Social Media Manager: Carly Berrett- Plagianakos

Production Legal Counsel
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, P.C,
Mark A. Merriman, Esq. and Helen Reeves, Esq.

Accountant
Mark D’Ambrosi, Partner, Marks Paneth LLP

Thanks also to our 2015 Kickstarter backers who helped make this work possible.

The development phase of The Grand Paradise was made possible, in part, with initial support from Governors Island, Materials for the Arts/ New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Sanitation, The {QuA2aD} Art Mill Residency in Jeffersonville, NY provided by Daniel Casellanos & John Wenk, Third Rail’s fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas & Artful.ly; and by Third Rail Projects, with support from individual and institutional donors, and volunteers. Third Rail Projects also extends its sincerest gratitude to Arts Brookfield for its significant support throughout the development of The Grand Paradise as well as Third Rail Projects’ Producers Circle. Full list at: www.thridrailprojects.com/support.

Additional thanks: Tara O’Con, Bob Ocon – Federal Aviation Administration, New York Center, JetBlue Airways, John Martin – Manager Air Traffic Services for Jetblue Airways, Tamara Young – Manager Corporate Communications for JetBlue Airways, Hewn Bros., Infinite Scenic, NJ Agwuna, Anna Aschliman, Nick Auer, Erika Barbee, Julia Bilbao, Aidn Bose-Rosling, Giulia Carotenuto, Erin Cohen, Kristen Cooper, Megan Correia, Brittany Crowell, Alberto Denis, Carina Don, Brendan Duggan, Caitlin Dutton, Desi Fisher, Jim Freeman, Gabriela Gowdie, Dana Gal, Abagail Greenbaum. Ashley Handel, Emma Hoette, Brain James, Meredith Jones, Julia Kelly Roxanne Kidd, Annette Koehn, Kate Ladenheim, Valerie Light, Justin Lynch, Jeff Lyon, Zach Martens, Emma McDonnell, Zach McNally, Rebekah Morin, Parker Murphy, Christina Ng, Alannah O’Hagan, Lily Ockwell, Paul Olmer, Emily PAdden, Eh-den Perlove, Carly Plagianakos, Aimee Plauche, Brendan Quigley, Becky Radway, Joshua Reaver, Kristina Reid, Max Robinson, Sebastiani Romagnolo, Kim Savarino, Alex Schell, Alison Schilling, Kelsey Schroth, Julie Seal, Samara Seligsohn, Jessy Smith, Shanyn Strüb, Sam Swanton, Simon Thomas-Train, Ava-Margeaux Tierney, Rebecca Vineyard, Kristina Vnook, Stewart Wagner, Erin Young

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